‘Jacks Returns Bulk Of Lineup
The Valley Lumberjacks return the bulk of their lineup and the hope of another successful season looms in their minds.
The ‘Jacks roared out to an amazing start last season, placing runnerup to St. Marys in the Bob and Sharon Burton Christmas Classic, before dropping off after Jacob Smith was injured early in the season.
Smith and Coleman Ueltschy each graduated from last season’s squad, but returning are nine players that saw a great deal of court time.
Valley Head Coach John Kocher and Assistant Coach Leslie Lively think their players are channeled in the right direction. “We like to run if we can. Our kids, including our big men, can run the floor,” said Kocher.
He also believes that their ball handling skills are pretty good and he thinks he can develop an inside game, as well as strategies from the perimeter.
The ‘Jacks normally play a man-to-man and zone defense. Kocher says that the opponents will dictate the defense and he is spending more time on defense than he has in the past. Also, look to see the ‘Jacks run in transition and take care of the ball better than they have previously.
After Smith was injured, the ‘Jacks’ Ronald Morris and Alex Henderson stepped up and had outstanding seasons. They swished the nets for 259 and 249 points, respectively. Henderson netted 70 three-point baskets, while Morris tallied 60 baskets from beyond the arc. Morris hauled in 137 boards off the glass, while adding 40 swipes.
The ‘Jacks like an up-tempo game and can get down and shuffle their feet and play good old-fashioned defense when they have to. Look no farther than seniors Matthew Poling and Josh Highly to lead the way in this department. They know that shuffling their feet and playing that defense help build championship seasons.
Poling has played a lot of varsity ball and can handle the show, while Highly looks to be one of the first players off the bench to solidify the team.
Others who have contributed in the past and will try to keep Kocher from pulling anymore of his hair out are Dustin Bickerstaff, Garrett and Clay Ueltschy, along with Jeremiah Anderson, Scotty Anderson, and Travis Villers.
The coaching staff is pleased with the work ethic of the boys to this point and feel that they have a good solid group of players with outstanding team speed.
“I think we have great fans at Valley, and I believe that we must play well enough to want our fans to keep coming out and watching the boys play,” added Kocher.
The Lumberjack fans will have to travel to Clarksburg to catch the ‘Jacks’ first game of the season, tonight at 7:30 p.m., against Notre Dame. However, they can get a good look at the team at home against Bellaire St. John Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. before heading to Paden City in the Bob and Sharon Burton Holiday Classic Dec. 18-19.